Missouri Money/Parcel Mule Convicted

Last Updated on by SCARS Editorial Team

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Missouri Money/Parcel MuleMule A money mule sometimes called a "smurfer," is a person who transfers money acquired illegally (e.g., stolen) in person, through a courier service, or electronically, on behalf of others (usually criminals that they are knowingly or unknowingly affiliated). Typically, the mule is paid for services with a small part of the money transferred - but not always. Mules may or may not be aware that they are performing these actions. Money mules are often dupes recruited online for what they think is legitimate employment, not aware that the money they are transferring is the product of crime. The money is transferred from the mule's account to the scam operator, typically in another country. Similar techniques are used to transfer illegal merchandise. Mules can be prosecuted for numerous crimes. Convicted

St. Louis, Missouri woman admitted Wednesday that she participated in a romance scamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. that targeted middle-aged or older women

Prosecutors said the scam, which began in 2019, duped women across the country into sending valuable items to the post office box. The victims believed the box was used either by a real estate agent or a diplomat’s secretary.

This Money/Parcel Mule Knowingly Participated With Nigerian Scammers!

Trenice Hassel, 28, Plead Guilty To Making False Statements To A Federal Agency

In her role as a Mule, she persuaded another woman to open a post office box in Berkeley, Missouri, knowing it would be used for illegal activity. She and the other woman lied to postal officials about who would be using the box.

This is according to the United States Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Missouri

The St. Louis County woman pleaded guilty for her role in a Nigerian romance scam.

Hassel appeared, on March 3rd, before United States District Court Judge Sarah E. Pitlyk.

On April 8, 2020, the United States Postal Inspection Service learned of a Romance Scam operating through the use of Post Office Box 34096 in Berkley, Missouri. The post office box account had been opened fraudulently by Hassel and B.M. using B.M’s name and identification number. Through the subsequent investigation, inspectors learned the scam had been operating since early 2019.

Hassel admitted that a co-defendant offered her $100 if she could find someone who would open a post office box for him in that person’s name. Consequently, Hassel asked B.M. to open the post office box using B.M.’s name and identification because she knew B.M. would not question why she was being asked to open a post office box.

On January 8, 2020, Hassel and B.M. entered the Berkeley post office where they completed PS Form 1093, titled “Application for Post Office Box Service.” Hassel and B.M. made a material misrepresentation to the United States Postal Service by falsely claiming the post office box was being sought for B.M.’s residential and personal use, and that B.M. and Hassel were the only people authorized to pick up mail delivered to the rented post office box.

At the time B.M. and Hassel submitted the false and fraudulent application, Hassel knew neither she nor B.M. would use the post office box for their use, but instead, the co-defendant would possess and control access to the rented post office box in connection with some type of illegal activity, the exact nature of which Hassel was unaware (she claimed).

Hassell further admitted that after the representative for the United States Postal Service accepted B.M.’s application, B.M. was assigned Post Office Box 34096 and was provided with two keys for the post office box. When Hassel and B.M. exited the post office, they gave both keys to the co-defendant who paid the two women for fraudulently opening the post office box.

Between January 8, 2020, and June 4, 2020, the co-defendant collected and attempted to collect, express mail delivered through the United States Postal Service from dozens of women who were deceived into mailing the proceeds of a Nigerian romance scam to fraudulently opened Post Office Box 34096 because they believed the money was being sent to B.M. who was employed as either a diplomat’s secretary or as a realtor.

The United States Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Tracy Berry is handling the case.

When Hassel was indicted in September, investigators said at least 40 women lost more than $500,000 in cash and electronics.

Ovuoke Frank Ofikoro and Bonmene Sibe are accused of sending part of the money to Nigeria. Both have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial

Prosecutors said the suspects pretended to be high-ranking military officers deployed overseas and expressed romantic interest in women ranging in age from 45 to 82.

If You Or Someone You Know Sent Money To These People

If you send any money or items to these people, you should contact Venton Blandin at the U.S. Attorney’s Office,  venton.blandin@usdoj.gov 314-539-6805 to complete a victims’ impact statement or provide further evidence against the two defendants.

TAGS: SCARS, Information About Scams, Anti-Scam, Scams, Scammers, Fraudsters, Cybercrime, Crybercriminals, Romance Scams, Scam Victims, Online FraudFraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements. A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim., Online Crime Is Real Crime, Scam Avoidance, Money MuleMoney Mule A money mule sometimes called a "smurfer," is a person who transfers money acquired illegally (e.g., stolen) in person, through a courier service, or electronically, on behalf of others (usually criminals that they are knowingly or unknowingly affiliated). Typically, the mule is paid for services with a small part of the money transferred - but not always. Mules may or may not be aware that they are performing these actions. Money mules are often dupes recruited online for what they think is legitimate employment, not aware that the money they are transferring is the product of crime. The money is transferred from the mule's account to the scam operator, typically in another country. Similar techniques are used to transfer illegal merchandise. Mules can be prosecuted for numerous crimes. Arrested, Parcel Mule, Trenice Hassel,

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